For those who pay little attention to such things, Apple’s move today to acquire access to two of the streaming world’s most popular apps – HBO to Go and WatchESPN – represents a seismic shift in the world of content streaming.
Actually, let’s forget about HBO for now. It’s ESPN’s app, which allows access to a regular sports buffet of content across the worldwide leader’s assorted channels that officially makes Apple and its AppleTV box no longer a curiosity in the world of streaming.
In recent week’s Apple CEO referred to the small box as a “hobby.” You can’t call any device that has sold 13 million units since its launch a “hobby.” And it’s about to become less so.
Having access to live sports, I argue, is the one killer feature that any streaming device needs. Roku has it via a backdoor deal with Time Warner Cable and its TWC TV app.
But now that Apple WatchESPN, they’ve instantly raised their profile. It also represents a signal that Apple is in this streaming thing for the long haul.
But users shouldn’t rejoice. While some predict a world in which apps eventually displace TV channels, it won’t be happening soon. Especially with sports. Right now that means that Apple TV users will have to remain tethered to a video provider for the time being. ESPN isn’t about to allow anyone to touch a business model that provides them billions and revenue based on the number of subscribers cable companies have.